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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | Newbury Park

Local Firm Sends Food to Sierra Leone

May 21, 2000|COLL METCALFE

Amid the crisis in war-ravaged Sierra Leone, Bob Stolz of Newbury Park-based Survivor Industries Inc. stepped in to lend a hand.

Last week, Stolz traveled to the small West African country to deliver food supplies to weary refugees huddled in camps run by the United Methodist Church.

Although he would have liked to stay longer, he said the deteriorating situation in Sierra Leone forced a hasty retreat.

"When I arrived, I started asking people what was happening and the news wasn't very good," Stolz said. "I thought it might be best to start packing."

And pack he did, but not before handing out more than 10,000 of the company's ready-to-eat meals.

For 17 years, Survivor Industries has been preparing packaged foods, primarily for emergency preparedness kits.

Lately, the company has focused more on international relief. Working with the U.S. Agency for International Development, the company shipped 4 million of its Mainstay Meals to refugees in Kosovo and to flood victims in Mozambique.

"In all of these situations, it's the poor people who suffer and that's really what this is all about," Stolz said.

Despite the situation in Sierra Leone, where a rebel group known for amputating the limbs of men, women and children is holding U.N. peacekeepers hostage, Stolz said he wished he could have stayed to do more work.

"I never felt like I was in any danger myself, but the situation definitely wasn't safe," he said.

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